TRIP Database & TRIP Answers

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  • Updated.jpg This entry is out of date, and will not be updated, July 2017


See also Canadian consumer health information (CHI) portal 800px-Flag of Canada.svg.png | Citeseerx | DynaMed (EBSCO) | Google scholar | SUMSearch 2.0

The TRIP database (clinical search engine) is a free-to-use metasearch tool that retrieves a range of high-quality medical evidence via a single interface and website. Though international in scope, it retrieves content and information primarily from the NHS and organizations in the United Kingdom. TRIP has some interesting features such as a PICO-based search screen. The TRIP database was created in 1997 as a result of the work of Jon Brassey (see blog Liberating the literature) and Dr. Chris Price who were interested in creating a tool to answer clinical questions. The goal was to return answers after locating the evidence from authoritative information sources and websites. Today, TRIP does identify the best medical evidence, and materials are culled from databases and websites. It's an indispensable tool for many who use it. According to the site, manual searches of evidence-based sites are conducted in order to build the tool.

For more information, see TRIP - About. TRIP (or at least Jon Brassey) is also on Twitter In 2008, TRIP released TRIP Answers to accompany its search tool. TRIP answers holds more than 6500+ questions and answers, which originate from doctors and information specialists. Today I Learnt That ... is a "free place to record and share clinical learning". Within TRIP, buttons for TILT appear next to each search result. TRIP has been experimenting with TILT where users write notes next to what they have learned from particular papers, and even tag articles. Others rate the comments (e.g. agree, disagree).

2013 Upgrade

  • Better linking to full-text via PubMedCentral and to institutional full-text holdings. For institutional linking, edit your profile and tell us your institution among 110 institutions registered
  • Developing world filter, and identify content suitable for the developing world.
  • Controlled trials database to make systematic review production, sensitive to resource poor setting, a whole lot easier.
  • DynaMed integration so you can search DynaMed via Trip. Useful if you have access to DynaMed.
  • Case reports. A new section of content added to the site.

2012 Upgrade

The two previous versions of TRIP (2011 & 2012) now include the following features:

  • A PICO-based search screen
  • Improved filtering
  • Logging in via Facebook, Twitter and personal TRIP account to "track previous searches & lookups"
  • Translate introduced, allowing users to translate the search results into one of six languages (Spanish, German, French, Italian, Portuguese and Welsh)
  • DOI (Digital object identifier) is displayed, this is to facilitate the identification of full-text articles
  • Clinical trials are highlighted via links to; search terms are sent to and returned to TRIP
  • Clinical calculators related to the search terms are now displayed
  • Restrict the results to new research only
  • The site is significantly faster
  • New results page design
  • Incorporating new content including medical education, patient decision aids, and content from social media and videos (now over 6,100)

Key websites & video

See also Yale University School of Medicine's TRIP tutorial

Search tips

Searching in many keyword-driven search tools is often confined to searches of "title" and/or "title and text". In TRIP, the idea is that citations about the topic 'asthma' are most likely reflected in articles titles. While useful to search for titles, a over-reliance on keyword title searching presents retrieval problems. Even in titles, searching for asthma generates false hits and overload. Identifying relevant material is difficult as users often want to combine two or three additional terms not found in the title or text. In TRIP, it is recommended that:

  1. title searches be performed first, then;
  2. title and text searches
  3. combine at least two sets
  4. click on categories and browse results

Most physicians are familiar with Google, and add terms to search quickly across the web. Average numbers of search terms per search is gradually increasing over time as users becoming more sophisticated. Therefore, increased use of terms is reflected now in TRIP. The challenge is to try and mimic the Google search interface yet still return good results. TRIP has produced a system that works well, according to Jon's blog. His plan is to continue to improve the search algorithm.


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